Good Morning Brothers…
Hunting season has begun. Yeaaahhhhh…!
Now I realize it’s only dove season, but that is okay, because Doves are the warm-ups to the main events that come later in the fall. This morning my 10 year old and I are setting up on a watering hole waiting for doves to come get a little drink before heading off to feed. The daily bag limit is 15 doves. I don’t care if little man only gets 1, he will be excited to provide for the family. That’s his new thing. Provide for the family. Last year he got a couple turkeys and landed some big catfish and salmon and talked about finding joy in providing for the family. My wife smiles real big when he talks that way and I feel motivated to provide him with opportunities to provide for us. A couple weeks ago, a buddy of mine and I were setting up 2 shooting tripods, about 16′ tall, along a wheat field and the tree line, in preparation for youth deer season. These setups are for a rifle and tailored for a 100 yard shot. I don’t typically hunt with a rifle but my little man does. He is longing to provide some venison for the family table and take another step in the world of hunting. As I was pouring out some protein pellets on the ground, at the designated distance away from the shooting platforms, this thought came to mind.
I am trying to steer an intelligent sentient animal into a “box” of my design.
How often have I tried to do this with God? How often have I tried to steer an intelligent, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-everything God into a box of my design because it seemed to fit my present situation? H’mm…probably more than I care to remember. What I constantly have to remind myself, is that what I need, is Presence. The Presence of God within me and around me, influencing me and teaching me, cleansing me and sanctifying me…is what I need. Creating boxes, by which I expect Him to occupy, is attempting to use His Presence for short term scenarios but restricting Him from long term influence. It reminds me of this quote from Peter Kreeft:
“Most theists are deists most of the time, in practice if not in theory. They practice the absence of God instead of the presence of God.”
The difference between a theist and a deist is Presence. Deists believe in God, only as far as they can prove Him through reason and by natural evidence. A theist believes in the super natural, believes in the mystical, and listens for the still small voice. What Peter is saying is pretty simple, most of us are recognizing God in the boxes of our making, or projecting an idea of God into our boxes (that may be more accurate), but not letting God run mysteriously wild through our lives. We believe like a theist, but live like a deist, which means we are practicing the absence of God. All of this reminds me of another quote, this time from Watchman Nee:
“I must first have the sense of God’s possession of me before I can have the sense of His presence with me.”
I really like this quote. It is one of those quotes that I have to sit in for awhile. When I meditate on being God’s possession, certain things come to mind:
- adopted as sons
- co-heirs with Christ
- more than conquerors
- bond servant
Wrapping my mind around what it means to be God’s possession makes me realize that only through God can I be any of those things. It makes me think of provision. It drives home the reality that God provides. To live outside of boxes is to live in a way that all glory goes to God. It is to recognize God in the quiet of a cool morning, to recognize God in the violence of the thunderstorm, to recognize God in the smile of my wife, to recognize God in the ringing of my business phone, to recognize God in all of the everyday occurrences that I, so often, take for granted. I have found that to get to that place of recognizing God in all things, I have to practice. This reminds me of one more quote, from R. Alan Woods:
“It takes practice to become proficient at something. Practicing the presence of God will make us good at it.”
We practice anything and everything to get proficient. I practice shooting my bow in preparation of the deer season. My little man practices football in preparation of the season. At work, when we train new employees, we practice skills they will need on their job. Anything we do proficiently is because we have practiced those skills over and over. Why should seeking God’s Presence be any different? Besides…seeking God’s Presence is not hard. All we need to do is be still, and focus on Him. Some of us do this reading God’s word and then silent prayer which includes listening. Some of us do this by spending quiet time in a dark room and visualizing Jesus sitting next to us. Some of us do this in a treestand early in the morning as we let our mind drift into all things Divine. How we practice is not near as important as ‘do’ we practice.
God will provide for us all our needs through His Presence. This provision, in turn, equips us to provide for others. Just like my little man, God gets excited to set up opportunities for us to provide for His table.